In his final hours in office, President Donald Trump granted a pre-emptive pardon to former White House strategist Steve Bannon early Wednesday, the New York Times reported. Past midnight Eastern, Trump still had not released the list of who else he will pardon.
The list of pardons and commutations — reportedly around 100 people — had been expected earlier Tuesday, but the back-and-forth decision on whether to pardon Bannon delayed matters until the early hours of Wednesday, the New York Times reported.
The pardon for Bannon was pre-emptive, and would negate a possible conviction on federal fraud charges. He has yet to stand trial.
Bannon was indicted by federal prosecutors in August, on charges of defrauding donors in a fund-raising scheme to build a wall along the border with Mexico, allegedly pocketing more than $1 million in donations. Bannon was on a yacht belonging to an exiled Chinese billionaire when he was arrested.
According to media reports, Trump is not expected to pardon himself or his family members, though it’s still possible he change his mind and do so before leaving office at noon Wednesday.
Advisers had reportedly warned Trump against pardoning himself because it would imply guilt, and had also recommended against clemency for any Capitol rioters.
Trump had already issued a number of high-profile and controversial pardons, including political allies such as Roger Stone, Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort; disgraced former Republican congressmen Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins; and four former Blackwater contractors convicted of killing 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2007.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration on Saturday carried out its 13th execution, in an unprecedented flurry that saw three federal death sentences carried out at a federal prison in Indiana last week alone. There had been no federal executions for 17 years before the Trump administration started carrying them out again in 2020. No president in the past 120 years has overseen as many federal executions, according to the Associated Press.